GSA Technology Council

Clemson University Recognized at S.C. Clean Energy Summit for Advanced Energy initiatives

South Carolina Clean Energy Business Alliance has selected Clemson University as recipient of the energy summit award for its advanced energy programs and initiatives.

The 2015 S.C. Clean Energy Summit Award for Outstanding Achievement recognizes an organization that has singularly changed the landscape of the clean and advanced energy industry in South Carolina.

Nikolaos Rigas, executive director of Clemson University’s Restoration Institute, accepted the award on behalf of the university.

“We’re honored to be recognized for the work our faculty and students are doing to create clean energy alternatives and support sustainability,” said Rigas. “It means a great deal, coming from our South Carolina peers and partners who share our passion for clean and sustainable energy.”

Initiatives that highlight Clemson’s achievements in clean energy include:

  • the Clemson Solar Decathlon program’s Indigo Pine project, involving design and construction of a 1,000 square-foot, low-environmental-impact solar home using innovative solutions for significantly lowered energy costs;
  • hybrid battery research at CU-ICAR to improve battery longevity and repurpose retired batteries;
  • research at the Institute of Translational Genomics on international diverse sorghum materials to speed development of sustainable energy crops for transportation fuels;
  • the Carolina Energy Crop Alliance, a new public-private partnership between Clemson and Abengoa Energy Crops to research the use of different trees and grasses to produce sustainable biomass for energy; and
  • the SCE&G Energy Innovation Center, where testing is under way in wind, solar, energy storage, micro-grid, as well as new energy efficient and resilient hardware and cyber-physical security of the electrical grid.

“The South Carolina Clean Energy Business Alliance is proud to call Clemson University a partner in our journey to make the Palmetto State a better place for the clean and advanced energy industry,” said Andrew Epting, SCCEBA program director.

“The university’s leadership is the example to follow in developing partnerships with industry to stir innovation and foster the growth of the knowledge-based economy in South Carolina.”

The S.C. Clean Energy Business Alliance is a cooperative enterprise dedicated to growing the clean and advanced energy industry in South Carolina. This is the fourth S.C. Clean Energy Summit, which explores trends in the industry.

IT-oLogy Upstate Hosts Free Cyber Summer Classes for Middle and High School Students July 28-30

Cyber Summer by IT-oLogy Upstate is a free program run by IT-oLogy volunteers where students can learn more about IT. These creative sessions cover a variety of IT topics including hands-on activities as well as presentations from IT professionals. The content covered in a particular Cyber Summer Class rotates. The goal of this program is to give students the opportunity to explore and experience technology in new ways, learn about careers in technology, and inspire students to continue to learn through critical thinking so that they increase their proficiency in STEM.

Available Dates
July 28 – Module = TBD
Grades 6-8 from 9am-Noon
Grades 9-12 from 1pm-4pm

July 29 – Module = TBD
Grades 6-8 from 9am-Noon
Grades 9-12 from 1pm-4pm

July 30 – Module = TBD
Grades 6-8 from 9am-Noon
Grades 9-12 from 1pm-4pm

Register (or learn more) at IT-oLogy Upstate Cyber Summer

TSAChoice Engineer Michael Harmon Earns VMware Virtualization Certification

Technology integrator TSAChoice, Inc., with offices in Asheville, NC and Greenville, SC, announces that Michael Harmon, a senior systems engineer who celebrates his 20th anniversary with TSAChoice in 2015, earned his Professional 5 Data Center Virtualization Certification through one of TSAChoice’s business partners, VMware.

Michael HarmonThis industry-recognized certification requires completion of a VMware-authorized training course and hands-on experience with VMware technologies. VCP-DCV certification confirms that the engineer has the education and the skills needed to successfully install, deploy, scale and manage VMware vSphere environments. The certification is obtained after a minimum of six months experience with VMware infrastructure technologies.

via TSAChoice

Department of Energy Awards Clemson $6M to Combine Genomics and Robotics Research

Clemson University’s Institute of Translational Genomics, led by geneticist Stephen Kresovich, has been awarded $6 million by Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy as one of six projects seeking to accelerate the development of sustainable energy crops for the production of renewable transportation fuels.

ARPA-E, a federal agency within the Department of Energy that promotes and funds research and development of advanced energy technologies, announced the projects in Washington, D.C. When combined, the six selected TERRA (Transportation Energy Resources for Renewable Agriculture) projects have been allotted a total of $30 million.

Clemson’s project, with Kresovich as principal investigator, is titled “Breeding High Yielding Bioenergy Sorghum for the New Bioenergy Belt.” The university will collaborate with the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute and partners to combine genomics and robotics in an unprecedented approach to advancing agriculture and plant breeding.

According to the ARPA-E announcement, Kresovich will lead a team of geneticists, engineers and computational scientists in an expansive examination of the phenotype of a massive set of international diverse sorghum materials. The phenotype of an organism involves how genetic and environmental influences merge to create its physical appearance, composition and behavior.

In addition, researchers will design and build cutting-edge robotics – ground and aerial – that will use space-age technologies to enhance the ease and frequency of data collection for crop testing. These new instruments will directly contact the plants in order to systematically quantify physical characteristics that are currently measured with more labor-intensive methods. As a result, our understanding of the plant material’s potential use as a transportation fuel will increase dramatically.

“These projects represent the future of agriculture,” said Kresovich, Coker Chair and director of Clemson’s genomics institute. “They are examples of how advanced tools of engineering and genomics are going to be used to tailor and optimize agricultural systems and plant breeding in the 21st century. They bring together the best we know in biology, genetics and agronomy to be able to perform high-intensity screening to either identify useful genetic resources or to breed the newest and best hybrids particularly tailored for the end use.”

Kresovich’s team will use sophisticated cameras and imaging algorithms to develop 3-D models of individual plants and their canopy structure, implement machine-learning techniques to analyze the data, then translate the data into predictive algorithms for breeding improved biofuel sorghum hybrids, according to the ARPA-E announcement.

“We’re aiming for faster and better,” said Kresovich, who is recognized as one of the nation’s premier agricultural genetics experts. “We’ll be able to screen more genetic resources, look at more plant traits and calculate and understand which genes or gene networks are associated with those traits. We’re on the cusp of changing our impact on agriculture in the southeastern United States.”
The six projects will blend and advance the working relationship between agriculture, information technology, robotics and engineering.

“Clemson has received this grant because the university has top researchers, smart students and an overall staff capable of managing big projects,” Kresovich said. “We have the capability to effectively deliver innovative technology to the marketplace.”

via Clemson University

GSATC Presents, “Where is Greenville’s Economy Growing?” July 15

GSATC Lunch July 2015
Join us for our next learning lunch where Mark Farris, President/CEO of the Greenville Area Development Corporation will discuss why Greenville’s economy continues to grow while other cities are still struggling to recover from the recession. He will also outline the community assets that not only contribute to the city’s growth, but are also available to new and expanding companies to help them succeed.

Proterra Zero Emission Bus Breaks Efficiency, Gradeability, Weight and Acceleration Records

Proterra Catalyst
Greenville based Proterra, the leading provider of zero-emission battery-electric buses, announced in June that it has not only completed the structural testing program at the Altoona Bus Research and Testing Center, the transportation industry’s gold standard, but its new Catalyst bus has broken records for efficiency, gradeability, weight and acceleration.

While conventional diesel buses average 3.86 MPG, the Proterra Catalyst achieved the best efficiency rating ever for a 40? transit bus at 22 MPGe. Nearly six times more efficient than a diesel or CNG bus, the Catalyst is also 15% more energy efficient per mile than the closest competitors’ electric bus on the same test, which translates to a lower lifetime energy consumption of 15%. Notably, Proterra’s new 40? bus is more energy efficient per mile than most light-duty trucks and SUVs on the road today.

In addition to energy efficiency, the Proterra Catalyst broke records in gradeability, weight, and acceleration. Gradeability has been a historic obstacle for electric buses, which until now, weighed more and had less power, making steep inclines difficult if not impossible to climb. The Catalyst conquered a 15.5% grade, unprecedented in this test by an electric bus, making it an ideal option to serve metropolitan areas with challenging topography in West Coast cities including San Francisco and Seattle. Made of carbon fiber and advanced composite materials, Proterra’s unibody design is a prime driver for its high performance with regard to weight and durability. With a curb weight of only 27,370 lbs., the Proterra Catalyst is not only lighter than any other electric bus, leading to greater efficiency, but is also more durable than buses made of aluminum or steel and less prone to corrosion. The transit industry has traditionally struggled with vehicle weight, especially for new technologies like hybrid, CNG and EV. By designing the vehicle from the ground-up, using the most advanced technology and materials, Proterra has eliminated the vehicle weight concern for EV. As proof of the vehicle’s superior power-to-weight ratio, the Proterra 40? Catalyst also achieved 0-20 acceleration in just 6.7 seconds. Rapid acceleration is particularly critical for keeping routes running on time, allowing bus operators to move in and out of traffic with greater ease.

“To break not one, but four records at Altoona is a major milestone not just for us, but for the industry as a whole and is a testament to how far electric bus technology has come,” said Ryan Popple, CEO of Proterra. “In an industry hungry for innovation, to receive these kinds of results from rigorous testing organizations such as Altoona helps to assure transit managers and civic leaders that electric buses can outperform fossil fuel vehicles and are a durable and reliable investment.”

via Proterra

KEMET Breaks Patent Record

KemetKEMET Corporation, a leading global supplier of electronic components, honored patent recipients, as well as others who participated in the patent process, during its Patent Awards Luncheon on May 28, 2015. Plaques representing the twenty new patents joined those already on display on the Patent Wall at KEMET’s U.S. Innovation Center in Simpsonville, South Carolina.

KEMET was granted a record number of twenty U.S. patents in Fiscal Year 2015. In addition to the new patents, KEMET innovation has driven more than 12,000 new products and a stream of new processes and platform releases in the last year emerging from its 33 PhDs, 501 engineers and global innovation centers.

Also honored was Jeff Poltorak, Technical Expert, Equipment Engineering, who was named KEMET Featured Inventor of the Year for his contributions towards tantalum anode equipment design as well as manufacturing methods and equipment for KEMET’s newest surface mount polymer aluminum capacitor product line.

“It is my pleasure to officially recognize these scientists who have developed some of the most innovative ideas and cutting-edge products in the industry,” said Dr. Philip Lessner, KEMET’s Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. “Our unyielding focus remains in distinguishing ourselves as the industry leader in technology and innovation, positioning KEMET as the premier ‘easy-to-design-in’ provider of capacitance and electronic component solutions,” continued Lessner.

via Kemet

Imagine Upstate Hosts Transportation Hack-a-thon June 26-27

Spend a weekend exploring and building fixes to sticky transportation problems… in code (mostly.) Phil Yanov talks to Sarah Arbogast of Imagine Upstate about their FREE event on June 26-27.

Launched in South Carolina, Google’s Computer Science Program Reaches 50,000+ Students

Google CS First
Google has hit another computer science milestone in an education effort that started in South Carolina’s Lowcountry and quickly spread around the globe. In late May, the number of students who have used Google’s CS First curriculum surpassed the 50,000 mark.

Since it started as a pilot program in 2013, schools and organizations across the country have created more than 3,300 unique clubs led by more than 3,100 community volunteers and teachers.

“This was our first year of scaling and our big, internal, ‘secret’ goal was 25,000 kids.” said JamieSue Goodman, a Manning, S.C. native who leads the CS First Project. “Reaching the 50k mark is amazing and really is a credit to the teachers and gurus who are taking the materials and using them around our state, the nation and the world.”

Google’s teaching fellows and program managers developed a computer science curriculum that uses video games, music, dancing and fashion to introduce students to basics of coding and interfacing with a computer on a programming level. Thanks to the teachers and administrators who implemented the tools in schools across the Lowcountry, CS First quickly took on a life of it’s own.

Google CS First presented at the August 2013 GSATC Learning Lunch on their launch in Greenville, SC. Learn more about Google CS First in Greenville County School here or look up the nearly 30 different Google CS First groups in the Upstate here.

via Google CS First

TSAChoices Expands Greenville, SC Office with New IT/Voice Service Manager and Field Technician

TSAChoiceTechnology integrator TSAChoice, Inc., with offices in Asheville, NC and Greenville, SC, announces that Ben Bruce has been promoted to IT/Voice Service Manager of the Greenville Office. Adding further support is Field Technician Sam McAllister who has been transferred from the Asheville office to Greenville to better serve the Upstate South Carolina region.

President Dan Watts remarks, “We are excited about our growth in the South Carolina market and are excited to continue growing in that area.”

TSAChoice_Ben-BruceBen Bruce has been with TSAChoice’s Greenville office for four years, after working as a Mitel Direct certified technician for four years. He has extensive experience working with Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), web, and data networks. Bruce is certified in all of the Mitel products that TSAChoice installs, and has multiple certifications from Cisco, Microsoft and COMPTIA.

TSAChoice_Sam-McAllisterSam McAllister began at TSAChoice in June 2011 working with the cable crew, and was moved to the Voice Division in 2012. As an IT/Voice Field technician, McAllister is certified in the Mitel Suite of products including Oaisys Call Recording. McAllister’s previous technical experience includes low voltage systems and secure access. Prior to being employed at TSAChoice, Sam spent four years at Bob Jones University with the Infrastructure Division.

via TSAChoice